Vauxhall Astra GTC

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Vauxhall Astra GTC

Road Test

Vauxhall Astra GTC BiTurbo driven

Driven November 2012

Additional Info

Pretty, isn't it? It's the facelifted Astra GTC, and this particular one is the most powerful diesel Astra ever: the BiTurbo. That's a quick-sounding name, too.

Visually, there's a reworked front specific to this model, the rear's had a once-over and the whole thing sits 6mm lower than before. As for the BiTurbo bit, there's the familiar 2.0-litre four-pot diesel as fitted to the Insignia, with a modified twin intercooler and pair of turbos. The result is 195bhp and the same torque as the VXR that, on paper, promises serious fireworks.

Except it doesn't really light up. The handling remains good, if a little detached, and overall the performance is fine. But it never explodes; there's no gut-wrenching dive for the red line. And the engine note is gruff to the point of annoying; it gets more raw and tuneless the faster you get. Surely the emotional appeal of a performance diesel applies to the sound as well as the pace?

And yes, it is a pretty thing, and yes, it is £1,500 cheaper than a Scirocco GTD. But that car's a better drive. Plus, this diesel is only £4k off a GTC VXR. And that's proper quick.

Vijay Pattni

The numbers
1956cc, 4cyl, FWD, 195bhp, 57.7mpg, 129g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 7.8secs, 140mph, 1475kg

The verdict
Fast and frugal enough, but not what we were hoping for. Plus, that engine note is annoying. Still, it's mighty handsome.

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